66:Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 (Yamaguchi Prefecture)


In my second son’s wedding reception, I had a chance to exchange courtesies with my son’s immediate boss. I stood and had quite a chat with him. We got to know each other that both of us are dedicated drinkers.

About 10 days after the reception, I received a bottle of “Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50” as a gift from him. He wrote in the letter “Kindest regards to you and hoping that we can continue our good relationship.” I was flabbergasted. Not for Dassai, but for receiving the gift from a boss of a son. Usually, it should be a parent who sends a gift to a boss of one’s own son.

Another reason of my amazement was that I just had Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 at a pub on the day before. Maybe I have some kind of unseen bond with him.

I have got a strong impression of this sake when I had a drinking party with a friend about 2 years ago. Dassai was the seventh kind of sake we had on that day. After the first nip, my friend and I screamed with one voice, “So good!” And moreover we screamed, “What’s this complex flavor! It’s beyond words!”

I open the gift from my son’s boss and drink Dassai anew. It has a taste of umakuchi, a sweet-smelling flavor and slight viscosity. Distinguishing aroma spreads in the mouth. I knew, but again I cannot describe the complexity of aroma and flavor. It is full-bodied. Four essences of palates - sweet, hot, sour and bitter - are well combined to create a depth of flavor. Especially, the balance between sweetness and sourness is perfect. The longer I spend time on drinking, the stronger sake leaves a sour aftertaste. The mouth is filled with peachy aromatic odor. My words cannot describe the lusciousness accurately. The way connoisseur represents the taste of sake is marvel.

Next, I drink it gently warmed. The taste becomes solid and the rich flavor fills the mouth. An acid sharpens each palates of sake. It keeps complex flavor even when it is warmed. There’s no word to describe how delicious this sake is.

Some days later, I found this sake in another pub. Assuming that Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 is a standard of Dassai series. Maybe it is caught on as a latest drink craze.

By the way, why is it named “Dassai”? The first Chinese character “Datsu” means an otter. Then, why the sake is named after an otter? The following is quoted from the brewery’s official web page.

The name of our sake, DASSAI, means "otter festival," and the origins convey much of what we are about. Part of the name refers to an ancient name for the region here in Yamaguchi Prefecture, as long ago there were many otters frolicking in the nearby rivers. Otters will lay out the fish that they catch on the shore, almost as if they are showing them off in a festival. This led to references to "otter festivals" in ancient poems. But there is more.

It is striking that Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 only costs 2,835 yen per 1.8 liter bottle. Junmai Daiginjo is the highest quality sake and usually costs more than 5,000 yen. However, you can get this quality sake at this price. Don’t you think it is one of the best buy?


By Sakekaeru
A former journalist for a local newspaper agency. Registered domicile, address, age: Unknown. He likes to drink sake that he has never tried before. Usually keeps a sake warmer at his favored izakaya restaurant. He believes that saying "I will start with a beer" at a drinking party is disrespectful to beer and sake, so it should start with sake. He prefers rich sake with a sour taste. Each year, he drinks over 500 different kinds of sake.

translated by Kodensha
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